The HATs Hikes Mapping Project

At HATs we believe that a well planned hike includes a map. Maps allow everyone to participate not just as a follower but as an independent hiker. Our maps are mostly marked up base maps from sources such as Texas State Parks, the USGS, the National Parks Service, other land managers or just Google.

These maps also make something of an inventory of hikes that anyone can make, so we share them. Most are actual hiked trails while some are planned but we haven't actually hiked them yet.

Maps, time and safety

Please keep in mind that maps are made to be interpreted, not just to be followed, They are a two dimensional representation of four dimensional space. North and south are pretty ease to interpret and our maps are often made with north up, but this is not always so. Elevation is somewhat more difficult and may not be even be present on the map.

Time is the most difficult aspect of any map to interpret. Maps are made at a point in time with information that is available at that time. The information may become outdated due to changes on the land. Maps also do not include conditions that can dramatically affect hiking safety, such as time of day and changing weather.

Please remember that these maps, or any maps, are just suggestions on where to hike. One of the joys of hiking away from groomed and fenced municipal parks is connecting with the natural environment. That joy includes personally learning how to manage with natural (or constructed) hazards. Even potentially life threatening hazards.

Map formats

Maps are mostly in jpeg, KMZ and PDF formats. Jpeg is the typical image format, KMZ is a geolocated image format that can be used on many Garmin GPS receivers and on specialized phone apps. Many of the PDFs are geolocated and can be used with the Avenza PDF app without a subscription or purchase. GPX tracks are sometimes included as well.

Map organization

The maps are mostly organised geographically, by watershed in the Houston area and regionally around Texas. Federal public lands are have their own folder. Maps are free to download and permission is granted to modify them as long as credit for our work is given and any distribution of modified HATs maps is made under the same sharing agreement.

I welcome suggestions for new places to hike in Texas and how our maps might be made better for hikers.